Voting by mail, drop box a big part of turnout on a rainy midterm Election Day

By Janelle Salanga,
Capital Public Radio,
November 8, 2022


Despite the rain Tuesday, election officials in the Sacramento region say early impressions of voter turnout are relatively consistent with the rates of voting in midterm elections. 

Ballots will continue to be counted and tabulated over the following days and weeks, so a fuller picture of turn-out won’t be available immediately – ballots postmarked by Election Day may arrive up to a week later, meaning a more solid snapshot of turn-out won’t be available until at least Nov. 15.  

Early waves of reported results will reflect vote-by-mail ballots turned in early and ballots cast in-person at election sites. 

In Sacramento County, spokesperson Janna Haynes said around 6:30 p.m., roughly 11,000 people had voted in-person on Tuesday — “a drop in the bucket in comparison to our complete voter turnout.”

“Overwhelmingly, voters are choosing to use those vote-by-mail ballots and either drop them back in the mail or put them in our drop boxes,” Haynes said. She added that the pattern has been consistent since the county piloted the model of sending every registered voter a ballot — which California adopted in 2021 – in 2018.

Similarly, Linda Webster with El Dorado County said the area’s voting base has always leaned toward voting by mail. 

“We have only had about 4,500 voters come to the vote center [at the county’s elections office] today,” she said of the in-person turn-out around 6 p.m. 

- - - - - - - - - 

‘We’re seeing a fairly good turn-out in-person and we’re seeing a fairly good turn-out by mail, and that’s because the majority of voters are waiting until Election Day and dropping off their vote-by-mail ballot,” he said. “My guess is that Placer County voters are going to vote somewhere between the 70 and 75% range.”

The inclement weather could delay some ballots, like those dropped off at the eight Tahoe-area polling places, which Chantri said are “buried in snow.” 

Still, others, like Kim Alexander with the California Voters Foundation, say in-person voting remains a key way that younger voters like college students — who may be less likely to have a stable address — have been casting their votes.

CapRadio and NPR rely on The Associated Press for all final race calls, a process which you can find more details about here. CapRadio is also tracking national, California and Sacramento County election results here.

County officials have up to 30 days to certify the results of elections. (Full Story)